Know the Road with the CHP: When there are lane closures, when do I have to merge?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: when there are lane closures on the freeway, what's the proper way to merge? Could I get in trouble for merging late?

"Caltrans will usually set these cone patterns up well in advance of the actual site that they need to have closed to give people plenty of time to merge over," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol.

"Is it legal for you to stay in that lane as long as possible? The answer is yes, you don't have to move over until you actually get to the cone pattern," he explained. "However, it's best to move over as soon as possible and this typically will expedite the flow of traffic through the closure."

"Occasionally, it can become frustrating when people will stay in the lane as long as possible and merge over at the very last second to try to get ahead of as many cars as they can. Is this illegal? No, it's not," Pennings explained.

"As long as they merge in prior to the closure in the cone pattern, it is legal for them to stay in the lane as long as possible."

For other answers from the CHP, go to

If you have a question about the rules of the road, fill out the form below for a chance to be featured on Know the Road with the CHP.

(mobile users tap here for form)
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.